Stockholm Stories the feature from Karin Fahlen is a story of five people whose interconnected stories play out in humorous often emotional ways. Similar to “Paris, I Love You” or its lesser sibling “New York, I Love You”, Stockholm Stories is a series of stories connected by the relationships that all of the main characters share with each other. In a move that sets this film apart, the stories are told concurrently flipping between each plot line and showing the audience how each character fits into the story of the others.
In similar movies that claim to be “love stories to the cities they take place in” the stories are segmented, separated from the others in a marking of an opening and a closing of a story in only a few minutes. Where this film excels is in that fact that all the story lines are seamlessly integrated into the others, flowing perfectly from the struggles of a failed author to the frustrations of a man on a quest to find a perfect stranger. Often these anthology films try to cram too much into the film they try to say too much or shove the message of love or peace down your throat but where this film succeeds is in the subtle that comes through in these select few stories. The characters may all possess unique characteristics that make their stories interesting and unique but they all share the universal struggles that make this movies so relatable even though it takes place halfway across the world.
Family conflicts and the struggle to figure out where you fit in life are just some of the themes that show up in this film and with a certain restraint and subtly that seems to be the specialty of the Swedes does this movie enlighten its viewers. People have a tendency to dismiss foreign movies because they assume that they won’t understand them that they’ll be too confusing or unrelatable but if anything this film is a perfect example of how universal the feelings in this movie are. Feelings of inadequacy and struggles with family have been documented countless themes in film and literature and this film is no less adept at expressing feelings that people all over the world have felt in their lives.
The strength of this movie also comes from the core story, which drives the narrative, the story of a young man Johan struggling to step out of his author father’s shadow and make something of his own writing. Just as in real life where connections between people seem to blossom out of nowhere the characters in this film seem to cross paths with each other in the way that can only happen in films but where this movies succeeds is that none of the interactions feel contrived. The plot blossoms from the strange interactions and connections between the characters in a way that could only happen in a movie. With a little bit of romance, drama, and humor this film captures the crazy and weird things that happen to people in life and shows the audience the interconnectedness of people.